I’m a regular listener of the podcast by Brooks Jensen over at Lenswork Daily, which always offers up interesting and thought-provoking episodes about the practice and appreciation of photography. In the recent podcast titled “Just for Me,” he raised the notion that most photographers tend to produce at least some work that is purely personal, as opposed to that offered for public consumption. He may have offered more than one reason for this – the one that sticks with me is the idea that photographers may hold back work that, for whatever reason, is thought to run the risk of not being well received by one’s audience. The takeaway, as I understand it, is that this kind of thinking should be questioned, since the work produced that is personally meaningful to its creator also is likely to be the work invested with the highest degree of merit.
I agree with this point entirely, but what struck me the most is how much it missed the mark for me. Personally, I make no distinction between personal work and work for public consumption, at least as near as I can tell. My thinking is that if something is good enough for me, it’s good enough to share with the world. Taking a different approach would be like drawing a line around some of my images and declaring them “not fit for public consumption.” What I share with my images is more than just the photographs themselves, it’s basically a window into how I see the world. To me, this is very much an “in for a penny, in for a pound” kind of proposition. If I offer up one part of my work, there’s no reason I can see not to offer up it all. Doing it any other way just wouldn’t make sense to me.